MS Awareness Week

Quick Update & MS Awareness Week

Quick Personal Update

Our baby girl, Audrey Jean Larsen, arrived on February 19, 2020. We are so in love and enjoying all of the baby snuggles. It is definitely different this time around trying to figure out how to manage caring for a newborn and a toddler at the same time. So far, Luke has been the most amazing big brother. Audrey brought him a few new cars, so of course, that helped win him over. However, this week Mitchell goes back to work, so my attention will be divided, and Mitchell won’t be around to give Luke attention while I am busy with Audrey. We’ll see how things go. 

So far, my health is great. I am pretty tired and getting 2-3 hour stretches of sleep at night, but it is all worth it. Hopefully, in a couple of weeks when she is old enough, she will give me 4-5 hour stretches. I am once again blessed with an oversupply of milk, so I am working on building a freezer stash in case I have a relapse. I am trying to manage my stress, stay healthy, and take naps when I can to try to help avoid a relapse. 

March is MS Awareness Month

It just so happens that March is MS awareness month and MS awareness week is March 8-14. If you have been following my story, you are well aware that I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis almost a year ago on March 22, 2019. At the time, it was devastating news. I can remember the day like it was yesterday. For me, it was shocking to hear that I had an autoimmune disease. I have only had one isolated incident and had no other indication that I have an autoimmune disease. No one in my family has an autoimmune disease. Plus, many people with Multiple Sclerosis have several relapses, wait years and years to get a diagnosis, and often, they feel relieved when they finally have an answer to what is causing their health issues. This was not my story.

My hope is that through my blog I can not only keep loved ones updated about what is going on in my life but also raise awareness. I hope to help make an invisible disease more visible.

Invisible Disease

Multiple Sclerosis is often referred to as an invisible disease. Many of the symptoms are not something you can see someone suffering from. Some of these symptoms include fatigue, pain, cognitive problems, weakness, blurred vision, tingling sensations, heat sensitivity, dizziness, balance problems, or bladder/bowel problems. 

Since my first relapse, I do sometimes suffer from off and on vision problems. I have mentioned before that 100% of my vision in my right eye was restored and about 98% of my vision in my left eye was restored after my optic neuritis episode. But, there are times that my vision blurs, particularly noticeable in my left eye, which was hit harder in my relapse. When my vision blurs, it is usually caused by a rise in body temperature, stress, or tiredness. It doesn’t stay blurry for long before it returns back to normal, and if it were to stay blurry for over 24 hours, it could be a new relapse. If you ever catch me rotating closing eyes and staring at something in the distance, I am checking to see if my left eye is blurry. Sometimes, it is just that my contact needs to be adjusted because I also have an astigmatism. One other thing that sometimes bothers my vision is the way that light shines into a room. Particularly on overcast days, it can cause a weird reflection. 

This is MS

You might not know it, but you may have friends, coworkers, neighbors, and loved ones that have the disease and haven’t told you. For some, the need to have their chronic illness remain anonymous is valuable to not being treated any differently. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t suffering silently. They may be suffering from one or many of these symptoms on a daily basis. They may have these symptoms even if their body temperature is normal or their stress is managed well.

Just keep in mind that we don’t always know how others in our lives might be struggling, fighting, or holding it together.  

What Can You Do?

Pray for a cure. Pray for those suffering from MS to find healing, support, and medication that can stop their bodies from attacking themselves. Pray that those of us with MS can find peace in the midst of a relapse and hope when our bodies are failing.

Donate to help find a cure. Donate to the National MS Society or the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. Your donation will help researchers find new and better medications to manage the disease and maybe even help towards finding a cure. 

Learn and educate yourself. I am glad you have been following my story and learning a bit more about MS, but there is so much to learn and understand about Multiple Sclerosis. Every single person with MS has a different experience with the disease. Read a few stories from other people living with MS.

Join the MS Walk! I will most likely be sitting out this year since I have a newborn. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t walk. In fact, I would recommend joining or donating to Morgan Smith’s team. A few months after my diagnosis, I met Morgan Smith, and she is awesome. Morgan was diagnosed with MS about 2 years ago and she has become a huge advocate for those living with MS.  You can read her story, donate, or join her team.